Dateline Manila: Gina Respall to perform before Chavacano Blue Eagles in Manila tonight PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 July 2014 11:32

BY Sammy Santos


Former London-based singer and performer Gina Respall, Zamboanga City’s contribution to the international theatre scene, will perform before members of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University Metro Manila Alumni Association (ADZUMMAA) during its 25th year anniversary dinner tonight at the posh Manila Polo Club in Makati City.

The beauteous Gina, younger sister of former Hagibis macho-man Mike Respall, an active ADZUMMAA member, was invited by ADZUMMAA President Paul Pe to perform a number of songs before the much-anticipated affair which will start with a 6:00 pm mass.

Charming and talented, Gina was featured in the lead role as Lady Thiang in the The King and Ishow staged by the Resorts World Manila with stage veterans Monique Wilson, Leo Valdez, and Loi Martinez.

A pure Zamboangueña, Gina has been involved in theatre for almost a decade now starting as understudy for Kim and Gigi in Miss Saigon in 1998 in the West End in London. She was also understudy to Lady Thiang, the role of head wife of the king in the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein play, which she had played in various United Kingdom shows.

Gina has also performed in several cabaret shows, concerts, professional recording for commercials, soundtrack, and professional portofolio albums. She describes herself as a mezzo soprano who can sing classical, jazz, pop, rock as well as rhythm and blues.

Fr. Karel San Juan, president of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU), will say the mass and will be the guest of honor and main speaker of the event.

Paul Pe, who has been president of the association since it was founded in 1989, will deliver his president’s report while lawyer Gues Doroja will say the welcome address. I have been tasked to deliver the closing remarks.

Retired broadcaster Edwin Fargas, retired banker Sonny Suñaz and Makati-based finance specialist Jimmy Panganiban will serve as masters of ceremonies who will see to it that the audience will remain awake throughout the program.

It will be the first time that Fr. San Juan, who took over from Fr. Tony Moreno as ADZU president last year, will be addressing a general assembly of the ADZUMMAA.

The ADZUMMAA was organized by Pe and company in 1986 to foster closer ties among Ateneo graduates based in Metro Manila by way of fellowships, social gatherings, and fund-raising campaigns. It has some 700 members. The association provides scholarships to members of the alma mater’s faculty members.

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Speaking of Blue Eagles, I liked what I saw when I watched the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles demolish the Adamson University squad, 79-57, in the UAAP Season 77 games last Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Not only was I impressed by the set of young and talented rookies that the team paraded but also by the cohesiveness and teamwork, especially in defense, displayed by the Blue Eagles.

Finally, I said to myself, Ateneo de Manila has finally put together a smart and thinking team that can give the La Salle Green Archers and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws a run for their money in this year’s UAAP. I was one of the numerous basketball fans who were extremely disappointed and disheartened by the Blue Eagles’ poor showing last season.

During the game last Sunday, Ateneo guard Kiefer Ravena posted neat statistics of 22 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals to lift the Blue Eagles, who spoiled the UAAP coaching debut of PBA legend Kenneth Derides.

Ravena was ably supported by old-reliable Chris Newsome and a line-up of impressive rookies led by Arvin Tolentino, a recruit from the San Beda Juniors team.

While I was happy for Ateneo’s performance, I was sad for my childhood friend and buddy Bong Nuño who was the debuting team manager for the Adamson Falcons.  By the way, my wife Julie, a Blue Eagles fanatic, and I watched the game from comfortable patron seats, provided, of course, by my team manager-friend Bong.

Here’s some interesting data about the Blue Eagles team this season, courtesy of Blue Eagle hotshot Von Pessumal, an Ateneo communication student, who wrote a two-part article about the team in the Ateneo de Manila University website.

According to Pessumal, the team underwent several months of intensive training under a reinforced coaching staff in the United States, Japan and Korea during the summer. Now backing up head coach Bo Perasol are former UP Maroons head coach Ricky Dandan and former PBA star guard Ronnie Magsanoc.

“Ricky Dandan provides experience and knowledge to the Blue Eagles coaching staff. Similar to a defensive coordinator in American football, Coach Ricky handles our defensive system. His clever and unique defensive ploys have made our team very dynamic on that end of the floor,” said Pessumal.

“PBA legend and all-time great Ronnie Magsanoc has been assigned to polish our offensive framework. Together with his vast knowledge of the game, his experience as a player, coach and analyst has become such a luxury for a team that is relatively young,” Pessumal added.

The top rookie is Tolentino, the 6’4” former San Beda Red Cub who is touted to be an effective offensive weapon. “His arsenal of moves from the perimeter makes him a difficult matchup at the power forward spot, and he is looking to bring his A-game to the collegiate level,” Pessumal said.

Another rookie is defense specialist Clint Doliguez, formerly from the Hope Christian High School whose athleticism will help the team on both sides of the court. “Look for him to be assigned to guard the opposing team’s best player,” noted Pessumal.

Then there is John Apacible, a recruit from Hope Christian High School and described as a big bodied player with good mobility. From the Reedley International School is Jay Javelins,an ambidextrous finisher and known for his nice low post game.  Then there is Thirdy Ravena, younger brother of Kiefer and former star player of the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eaglets. He is said to be as skilled and athletic as his elder brother.

The other members of the team are Fonzo Gotladera, Gwyne Capacio, Nico Elorde, Anton Asistio, Vince Tolentino, Kris Porter, Isaac Lim and Boy Babilonia.

Three other players failed to make it to the Blue Eagles line up, according to Pessumal. They are former FEU high school standout Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani who were supposed to be part of this year’s roster, but due to the infamous UAAP residency rule, they were forced to sit this season out; and 6’7center Isaac Go of Xavier School who was initially part of the roster, but due to an unfortunate shoulder injury, would sit out the season. Fly high, Blue Eagles, (07.18.04)